Catastrophe has a disgusting way of changing purpose. Classrooms were meant to harbor learning, not function as a deathtrap for our youth. Movie theatres were intended to house entertainment, not distract and execute innocent patrons. But just like Sandy Hook Elementary, 123 days ago, and the cinema in Aurora, Colo., 147 days before that, here it was: A sporting event in the foreground of a worldwide broadcast, displaying the images of a city – our city -- infected with horror.
The legacy of Marathon Monday in Boston, a provincial pastime dating back to 1897, is forever changed. Going forward, the event may infamously be recognized as a forum of death and anguish. Perspective is blurred because the depth of Monday’s events are simply too recent to process. How can we? As I’m typing this, the 24/7 media circus is still releasing conflicting fatality and injury totals.
Once I heard, I refreshed my Facebook feed over and over to assure loved ones were OK, but since 3:30 p.m. Monday, I’ve been glued to my Twitter timeline – learning news 140 characters at a time. It’s a haze now. I remember processing the flow of information, becoming disoriented with images I wish I hadn’t seen, and audibly pondering the question on the tip of everyone’s tongue, “Why?” These things feel different when they happen to your city. They just do.
Hours earlier, I was writing a column about a 3-2 walk-off Red Sox win over the Rays, in a Patriots Day thriller that, for all intents and purposes, took place eons ago. At night, as I listened to the sirens of the racing ambulances on Washington Street, I’m reminded how close the vestigial terror is. The world is different now. I could sense it around me. I walked to the market to survey my Oak Square neighborhood. I immediately noticed how palpable the heightened pulse of the area felt. I simultaneously felt safe and insecure; angry and concerned; but most of all, I just felt crappy. I think we all did.
In the coming weeks, we’ll consume considerable regurgitation about how sports is an avenue towards escapism for fans looking to get away from the grating ebbs and flows of everyday life. A three hour vacation located miles away from things that count in The Grand Scheme of It All. The problem is Monday’s tragedy redefined normalcy. The illusion can no longer be replicated. Instead, we’re left pining for revenge to irrevocable actions and craving quick resolution. Sadly, it won’t be that easy. We’ll progress one day, hurt the next; feel vindicated, then distraught.
The truth is, every scar bleeds if you pick at it enough. The roadmap to recovery is a marathon, not a sprint.
Follow Metro sports columnist Ryan Hadfield on Twitter @Hadfield__